The Taekwon-Do Kids Development Program (TKD Program) is the official children’s programme for the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). It is designed for children aged 3 to 7 years old. It teaches basic Taekwon-Do Skills and Coordination Skills as well as Life Skills, Danger Awareness and Character Education. It is great for pre-school children as it teaches them discipline. The children are taught how to listen and to follow instructions.
The programme teaches foundational knowledge of Taekwon-Do and uses a unique blend of principles to provide the best opportunity for the student to develop in a way that will empower them for the rest of their life. The ethos of the program is to provide the student with a mind-set which will help them develop attitudes that promote a harmonious society.
The TKD Program uses a wide range of activities including; games, physical exercises, tasks, role playing, story telling, discussions, problem solving exercises, quizzes and puzzles. It uses a strategic reward system that gives positive encouragement to all students, including the less able, by rewarding them for their development.
Most of the games use a system which ensures that the games become a positive experience for the child which focuses on the developmental aspects of the game instead of the competitive aspect.
The TKD Program provides the students with a 166 page Study Book which is full of cartoon illustrations. The study book has been written also to help parents or carers of the children to be involved with the program. They are encouraged to read the Study Book with their child at home, as parents play a major part in the students’ social integration. The parents’ involvement will reinforce what their children are learning in class.
One major advantage of using the TKD Program compared to the standard Taekwon-Do syllabus is that there are 6 grade levels to reach the Yellow Belt (8th Kup) level instead of 2. The standard syllabus including the first step from White Belt (10th Kup) to Yellow Tag (9th Kup) is not designed for very young children. The problem is that there are many fundamental skills necessary to fulfil the requirements of performing various Taekwon-Do techniques. A child may take time to develop the balance, coordination, special awareness and muscle strength to perform these techniques to a reasonable standard. Developing these skills in 6 smaller stages is more suitable for the young children.
The programme uses a particular reward system that focuses on rewarding the process of Taekwon-Do development. This process includes developing learning skills, character development and mind skills. The emphasis is moved away from the singular attainment of a goal and instead is placed more on the journey or pursuit of the goal.Many educational programmes fail to reward the most important requirements for the developmental process and instead, they only focus on rewarding the actual attainment of the short term, medium term and long term goals. This creates a sense of failure to those children who struggle to achieve the required goals set by these kinds of programmes.
As well as basic Taekwon-Do skills, the programme teaches the basics of moral culture, cognitive skills, basic coordination skills, fitness and health and also important life-skills such as independence, organisation, teamwork, leadership, following instructions and responsibility.There is also a supplementary section on danger awareness which teaches them to be aware about hazards and how to stay safe. It also teaches awareness of dangerous and hurtful behaviour including reckless behaviour, deviousness, child abduction, making trouble, bullying and aggressive behaviour. The syllabus not only teaches them to be aware of others behaving dangerously but also encourages them to avoid behaving in a manner that is dangerous to others.